I have always preferred to fly rather than drive. In a drive my legs cramp, my back aches, and I drink a lot of water (and caffeine) and believe you me that is extremely inconvenient when you are driving.
My wife and I had a recent and significant loss in the family. Her father suffered a sudden and severe blood clot that lead to heart failure. He had moved to Florida and later to Iowa, it had been six years since we had last seen him. We chose to drive, not just because it was cheaper, but because of what we have been hearing about what’s going on at airports lately.
TSA has decided they need nude photos of you, and if you don’t want to provide that then their workers get to cop a feel. To me both security measures are absurd. They are a clear violation of the 4th amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
It is ironic that we are now seeing Democrats like Joe Biden defending a government policy that they would have absolutely condemned under Bush. Even just recently Democratic comedian Stephen Colbert ran a “counter rally’ against democratic comedian John Stuarts rally to restore sanity. Colbert, in traditional Democratic demagoguery ran the rally to restore “fear.” If this were Bush the GOP would be accused of fear mongering. They would then grab the often quoted out of context Franklin quote that those who would sacrifice liberty for security shall have neither and loose both and run with it. They would do every thing to proclaim that this is the politics of fear and the irony in all of this is that I would whole heartedly agree, which is why it is a disgusting hypocrisy to see them defend a policy that they would have never tolerated four years ago. But I guess that’s what hope and change is all about, literally more of the same, bigger, louder, and much more intrusive.
The lesson for the GOP to learn as they prepare to take the house is this. I recall a story of the conflict between Jefferson and Adams, two of the three men (Franklin being the third) who I believe laid the ideological foundation that built this country. The two had been great friends until Adams became president, then as Adams began to listen more to Alexander Hamilton than his Vice President Thomas Jefferson, Adams found himself growing government. The most controversial measure Adams passed was the alien and sedition acts. Jefferson urged him not to sign the bills, but to veto them. Adams, apparently tried to assure Jefferson that he would not abuse the powers the measure granted him, and Jefferson replied that it wasn’t Adams he was worried about, but we should never pass a measure future leaders could use against the American people. What is happening at the airports is precisely why.
Bush might not have done this, but it was his policies which enabled this and that this is happening already under Bush’s successor leads me to worry greatly about what comes next. Will we be allowed the dignity of our clothing at all when we fly? Quite frankly being as fat as I am, I imagine that forcing me to strip is a great way to make all the other passengers sick.
While conservative pundants are up in arms over the invasive searches we should have considered that this would happen given that it is the nature of government to grow abusive of the powers we, the governed, grant it. This is why Libertarian concepts are becoming more and more important every day, and as we look to our House agenda in 2012 we aught to consider what we can do to improve security while reducing the size and scope of government, and government invasion of privacy. Let us also be careful not to pass laws which can be reinterpreted by later leaders in a way which leads to abuses.
A solution is available, they do it in Israel, and Israel has proven to be very successful at preventing terror incidents while remaining unintrusive. The answer is profiling. We have an idea as to who we need to be on the look out for. Whenever a bomb goes off there’s always a jihadist nearby. Instead grandma through scanners that reveal her naked body to TSA agents or through an even worse a perverse pat down where TSA agents will touch people in places that would get them arrested if they were anyone but the government. 99.99999% of fliers are perfectly sane. We only need to look at a very small fraction of a fraction of the population in order to keep people safe, we aught to be looking at those most likely to cause a problem rather than putting everyone through a nightmare in order to avoid hurting a jihadist’s feelings.
Franklin’s quote about liberty and security was originally a comment about government sponsored welfare. However the general message is still applicable to security measures, so long as we are clear that we are applying the statement outside its original context. That being said I will not join the left in applying this statement to national security issues because what is happening here goes beyond giving up liberty for security, would that it be that simple. The real truth is we are giving up liberty for political correctness. Quite frankly Americans have every right to be outraged. I can’t imagine we would have done these screenings to every American during World War II. During that era, even though we were lead y Progressives, it is more likely that Germans and Japanese would have received extra scrutiny rather than imposing this nonsense on all of us. As it stands, the current Progressives, wanting to win the Muslim vote, are willing to sacrifice the liberty of all of us rather than focusing on a small fraction of the Islamic community rather than do the sensible thing which would better serve the interests of the American people, including the average American Muslim who is a very modest individual and would be likely to take even greater offense to these scans and pat downs than the rest of us.
Since a small fraction of the Islamic community is the cause of most of our terror woes we need to be focusing on them. Radical Islam is the problem, not grandma and grandpa, not me, not you, not Christians or even normal everyday Muslims. Just radical Islamo-Fascists. Can we please stop punishing all Muslims, and all Americans in general for the actions of a few?